With low clouds burning off to reveal blue sky just moments before, Santa Barbara’s annual Fourth of July Parade presented a perfect beginning to the Thursday afternoon festivities with thousands of people lining State Street to watch.
Thursday’s parade was the 51st annual event sponsored by the Spirit of ‘76 Foundation, which selected the theme “America the Beautiful — more than a place, a state of mind.”
“The United States of America is more than just a land within a defined border, it is an ideal for which the American people strive,” said Paul Lamberton, the parade’s coordinator.
A string of classic cars, vintage military vehicles, as well as soldiers dressed in every era of military garb from the Revolutionary and Civil wars to veterans who fought bravely in conflicts over the last century followed the parade’s lead, which was kicked off by the drums and bagpipes of the Gold Coast Pipe Band.
A number of dignitaries appeared in the parade, including Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, riding in a World War II-era Jeep alongside Iraq War veteran Raymond Morua, who was dressed in fatigues and wielding a Captain America shield to the delight of parade watchers.
State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, also appeared in the parade, as did Santa Barbara County First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, District Attorney Joyce Dudley, elected officials from the cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta, and a host of other leaders.